Knavesmire Butchers’ buying coup at CCM Skipton monthly prime shows March prime show day at Skipton Auction Mart saw Knavesmire Butchers in York embark on a buying spree that secured the leading performers in both sections. (Mon, March 7)

The Albermarle Road shop’s Anthony Swales began by claiming both the prime cattle champion and reserve, the former a 605kg British Blue-cross heifer from Clapham’s Jonathan Townley at £1,981, the latter a 560kg Limousin-cross steer from North Craven father and son, Francis and Andrew Smith, of Masongill, at £1,828. The respective per kilo selling prices of 327.5p and 326.5p also topped each section. 
Mr Swales then transferred his interest to the prime lamb ringside to again secure both the champion and reserve champion pens of five Beltex-cross, paying £175 per head, or 416/7p/kg top by-weight of the day, for the 42kg victors from Jon Midgley of Luddendenfoot in Calderdale, and £170, or 377.8p/kg, for the 45kg reserves from Kirkby Malham’s Jeff Burrows. Knavesmire took home nine pens, or 20 lambs in total, including a further pen at £168.
Back with the prime cattle, solid trade for heavies peaked at 320.5p/kg for a prize-winning 615kg British Blue-cross steer from Hargreaves Farms in Walton-le-Dale, which also led the day’s gross prices at £1,971 when becoming one of nine purchases among the 16 under 30-month entries by Ralph Pearson Wholesale Butchers from Bradford. Their haul also included the second prize 595kg Blue-cross heifer from the Critchley family in Hutton, Preston, at £1,830, or 307.5p/kg.
The mart-based Barkers Yorkshire Butchers also claimed a brace. Overall, steers averaged 291p/kg (av wt 638kg) and heifers 308p/kg (av wt 593kg). 
Cull cow trade continues to fly, with four-figure prices regularly seen among the 19 head forward, which sold to an overall average of £1,038.82, or 154.32p/kg. Heavy dairies comfortably achieved 150p/kg and upward and beef cows 170p/kg, with young dairies also 170p/kg as demand heats up and numbers remain very tight.
Top per head call of £1,093 fell to a dairy-bred Fleckveih-cross from Norman and Sally Fort, of Silsden, with Brearton’s Robert Metcalfe heading the black and white per head prices at £1,308, with a by-weight high of 177.5p/kg from Angus Dean in Threshfield. Of the Continentals, a Limousin-cross from JG Hall & Son in Gargrave made £1,071, or 175.5p/kg, with a native Beef Shorthorn from Skipton’s Keith and Jeanette Marshall also catching the eye at £1,089, or 162.5p/kg.
Returning to the prime lambs, back in show, North Lincolnshire regular Steve Dorey made a clean sweep of the prizes in both the Down-cross and Mule/Masham classes, his two pens of 46kg Suffolks both getting away at £112.50 per head, his others at £106 and £110. The horned show class was won by 44kg Lonks from Jimmy and Chris Greenwood in Addingham topping the section at £107.50.
Another solid, if mixed entry of 3,340 head comprised 2,732 hoggs and 608 cast ewes and rams, which produced an overall selling average of 258p (SQQ 270p), which looked a nice result on AHDB prices for the day.
Hoggs themselves averaged £116.52, or 266.4p/kg, with the top per head call of £178 falling to Beltex-cross from Andrew Atkinson in Felliscliffe. While Beltex pens were less in numbers at 377 head those on offer sold well, with four pens making over £4 per kilo. 
Henry Atkinson, also from the well-known Felliscliffe family, achieved 414p/kg, while two further pens form G&MA Jackson, of Little Eccleston, did well at 405p/kg and 403p/kg. The best of the rest were 350-395p/kg, with others at 290-350p/kg depending on shape and weight. The overall breed average for Beltex was 333p/kg. 
Good heavy lambs were a decent trade throughout, especially anything of better quality or well fed, while a medium weight was a reasonable price, again for nicer sorts, with commercial lambs slightly more mixed. Lightweight lambs met a sharp trade, especially well fleshed sorts, while North of England Mules were in comparison a good trade, better runs around the 245-250p/kg mark. 
Cull ewes met a competitive trade once again, buyers favouring full meat types. White-faced ewes averaged £126, with a top of £204.50 from High Harbour Farm in Middle Rasen. Other heavy fed entries made £170-£190 for both white-headed ewes and Suffolks. Cull ewes averaged £109.78 and cast rams £137.50.
The weekly breeding sheep sale of 175 head met a mixed trade, strong ewes and pairs selling to a top of £290 from Richard Umpleby, of Killinghall.